How to feel beautiful when you’re having a bad hair day
As women, we want to feel beautiful. Period.
I still find this annoying. I still feel enraged by what I see as media-driven insecurity that makes women undermine their real power. Women tend to focus way too much on the value they add by being appealing to the eye. Women still feel that their worth diminishes in direct proportion to their age.
Women have a lot, lot more to offer the world than being young and skinny.
I had this entrenched from a young age. I come from a family of strong and powerful women. My aunt used to change the details in the books she read her boys at night. She’d swap the words so that instead of reading about the “beautiful” princess, she’d speak to them of the “talented” or “clever” or ‘courageous” princess. How brilliant is that? Teaching her boys from a young age that women are worthy, that woman have more to bring to the table than the simple value of looking good.
What’s interesting, however, is that no matter how hard I fight the principle and try and convince myself that looks don’t matter, I realise that it’s something entrenched in all woman: we all want to feel beautiful.
But there’s a distinct difference here. Looking perfect and feeling beautiful are not the same thing.
I have a friend who never made any effort with her appearance. She expressed confidence in what she had to offer and simply didn’t believe that “dressing up” would add anything to her life, or her potential suitors. I always admired her ability to buck the norm.
It was interesting then to observe how she changed when she found love. She suddenly started wearing (small!) heels, and adorning herself with a bit of make-up and jewellery. She didn’t become someone she wasn’t and she didn’t get swept up with perfection.
She just started valuing herself enough to take better care of herself.
When she met someone who helped her see her own worth, she stepped into her femininity, and that’s what made her feel beautiful.
Looking perfect is trying to be something you’re not.
It’s speaks to insecurity and control: trying to change something that cannot be changed, trying to reverse the ageing process, trying to lose the 4kg that really aren’t going to make you a happier, fuller, more satisfied person. Looking perfect is an illusion and the mask that hides a much deeper feeling of “less than”.
Feeling beautiful is soft.
It’s feminine. It’s a radiance that comes from feeling good in your own skin. Feeling beautiful is about respecting yourself to do the things that nourish you. It’s about taking care of yourself at every level. It’s about being fully in your body whatever your age or size, and confidently owning the power of your Queenhood.
Feeling beautiful has nothing to do with how you actually look.
It doesn’t matter if someone compliments you on you hair, your skin or your clothes (the familiar “you look great?” “Huh? But I feel crap!”) Feeling beautiful is about how you feel in your body. And that’s related to the care and attention you put into caring for yourself.
Here are some of the things that make me feel beautiful:
- Movement – moving my body through running or yoga gets me back in my body and creates an immediate strength and confidence that carries through the rest of the day
- Looking after my skin – lathering my skin in hydrating, natural products makes me feel fantastic… and taking the time to apply (vs. slapping it on in a purely functional way) also brings a sense of loving self-care
- Making my environment pretty – plants, flowers, smelly candles, a gorgeous notebook and pen. They make the environment more feminine, and have a spin-off on me too
- Adding sensuality – there’s nothing like a candle-lit aromatherapy bath (damn you, drought!) to make me feel good. I come out the bath in the same body, but somehow the engagement of the senses makes me feel better.
- Self-care rituals – there are certain things we can do for ourselves on a regular basis to feel lovely. For me, a pedicure and eyelash tint can make the world of difference so I’ve made these non-negotiables regardless of other priorities.
- Clothes that feel like me – we all buy clothes that are fashionable, or that look good on others, but that don’t actually fit our vibe. When I wear clothes that make me feel connected to who I am, I feel more beautiful. For me, it’s chunky sliver jewellery and scarves
- Clothes that fit the body I’m in today –I’ve got a pairs of jeans that always gets me compliments, but the truth is, I don’t feel comfy in them. If they don’t make me feel fabulous every day (and all day!) then they have no place in my life.
- Feeling a little sun-kissed – I’m not talking about deep-frying, but I do love the feel-good effects of the sun. Just 15 minutes can make me feel more alive. Probably ‘cause it means I’ve added a little fun to my day.
- Getting outside – being in nature works. Swimming in the sea or hiking in the mountains helps me drop the superficial and reconnect with who I am at my core. And what’s more beautiful than that?
There’s no shame in wanting to feel beautiful.
It’s part of what makes us women. Maybe it’s time to embrace, honour and nurture this side of ourselves, so that with that covered, we can get on with being the wise, strong Queens that we are.